You Too Can Run the Federal Reserve

August 18, 2009 -

Tired of playing a virtual orc, shaman or infantry team leader?

How about stepping into the polished wingtips of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke?

You can, sort of. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco has posted Fed Chairman, an online game which challenges players to keep both unemployment and inflation in check by tinkering with the federal funds rate.

Okay, so Call of Duty 4 it's not. Still, it's a short, interesting lesson on the relationship between the Fed and the economy at large.

UPDATE: The game seems to be down at the moment...

Via: Crossing Wall Street

2 comments

Germany Moves Into Top Spot in Euro Video Game Market

August 17, 2009 -

While violent video games are a major target of late for German politicians, that hasn't stopped Germany from climbing into the number one spot among European game markets.

gamezine.co.uk reports that Germany edged out the UK, largely because the current recession hit the UK software market harder, triggering a 20% drop in software sales.

The top selling game in Germany? Wii Fit.

Among other European countries, Portugal posted a 16% increase in game sales, while Sweden (The Pirate Bay notwithstanding) climbed 4%. The Netherlands saw a 2.4% rise.

Check out GamePolitics' recent coverage of game-related news from Germany.

7 comments

Mortgage Meltdown: Perhaps the Only Way to Enjoy Housing Crisis

August 14, 2009 -

It's been a rough year for homeowners, with mortgage foreclosures at record levels.

AddictingGames tries to squeeze a little fun out of the crisis with their latest offering, Mortgage Meltdown. Lou Kesten of the Associated Press offers a review of the free-to-play, online game:

"Mortgage Meltdown" [is] a Bizarro-world version of Monopoly... Instead of buying properties and trying to corner the real-estate market, your goal is to keep your head above water and wait for the economy to turn around.

Pretty much everything that can go wrong does, from troublesome tenants to property tax hikes to earthquakes.

If you can hang in there for four years, you might see a nice windfall at the end.

4 comments

Dress Your Xbox Live Avatar for the Recession & Get a Little Poorer in the Process

August 13, 2009 -

Times are tough, so why not blow your last few bucks on virtual threads for your Xbox Live avatar?

Designer Michael Connell spoke to Kotaku about his new line of fashion for XBL. While some of Connell's designs pay homage to the popular Steampunk style, he also gives a nod to the down economy with "Recessionista" clothing:

I was thinking about making a statement, if you will, that even though this time of global recession, everything isn't bad." Connell said. "And in the 30s, in a time that was really bad, much worse than it is today, it wasn't all bad. There was fashion that was quite interesting. And this fashion wasn't the couture that was happening at the time...

 

[I hope] to kind of show that there are good things and we've been there and we'll get out. Clearly these are subliminal messages, but this is what I was inspired by. If you design a collection I think the most important thing is there needs to be heart and soul and direction.

23 comments

Short Documentary Asks: Are Video Games Dead?

August 11, 2009 -

The video game industry experienced a near-fatal meltdown in the 1980s. In today's uncertain economic climate, could it happen again?

Tech journalist Scott Steinberg examines the issue in part 1 of Video Games Are Dead.

The video is also available on Facebook, where it has generated a lively discussion.

Steinberg interviews a number of game industry and media types in search of an answer:

  • Michael Capps, Epic Games
  • Michael Pachter, Wedbush-Morgan
  • Jesse Divnich, EEDAR
  • Chris Kohler, Wired
  • Hal Halpin, ECA
  • Derrik Lang, Associated Press
  • Mike Snider, USA Today
  • Jason Della Rocca, Perimeter Partners
  • Peter Wanat, game producer
  • Chris Taylor, Gas Powered Games
  • Lorne Lanning, Oddworld
  • Cliffy B
  • Raph Koster
  • Greg Zeschuk / Ray Muzyka, BioWare
  • Nick Torchia, Warner Bros.
  • Cevat Yerli, Crytek
22 comments

Eve Online Employees Paid in Foreign Currency During Economic Meltdown

August 10, 2009 -

Employees of Eve Online developer CCP Games were paid in foreign currency during Iceland's economic meltdown in late 2008/early 2009.

gamesindustry.biz reports that the unusual action was taken due to wild fluctuations in the value of Iceland's krona. CCP Executive Producer Nathan Richardsson told gi.biz: 

What really was the problem for us was how many of our employees were hit by the [financial] crisis...

We're not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot, but at the very least we could leverage part of CCP's infrastructure that you wouldn't normally think would benefit your employees - allowing people to be paid in foreign currency, for example, makes it much more stable for people looking towards the future - when being paid in Icelandic Krona was still fluctuating by a few per cent here and there, it was very volatile and you can't really work with that kind of currency.

11 comments

Angry Gamers Considering Activision Boycott

August 9, 2009 -

Activision Blizzard, the world's largest video game publisher, has been raising the ire of many gamers of late. So much so, in fact, that there is at least preliminary talk of a boycott of Activision products.

So what has the publisher done to create so much ill will?

A few things, actually.

UK gamers are incensed over Activision's plan to price the upcoming Modern Warfare 2 at £54.99 (roughly US$90). Wedbush-Morgan analyst Michael Pachter ominously described the move as a trial run for Activision:

Activision knows it has a 'hot' game, knows that the market will pay an additional 10 per cent, and has decided to increase price accordingly.

Game consumers are also concerned about Activision's pricing plans for specialty controllers for the upcoming Tony Hawk: Ride and DJ Hero.

Adding gasoline to the fire was a recent comment by Activision Blizzard CEO. During an earnings call last week, Kotick said:

You know if it was left to me, I would raise the prices even further.

PS3 News reports that some gamers are planning a boycott and links to an online petition which has garnered nearly 5,000 signatures to date. From the petition:

You're increasingly making your fanbase more angry. Your recent moves on the business side are head scratching and completely apauling [sic]. Tony Hawk peripherals to start, PC and UK price hikes and ridiculously overpriced collectors editions for MW2... Than [sic] your CEO decided to further anger your customers... I believe we are in what we call a "recession." What the consumer needs is not more expensive items, but less expensive...

UPDATE: Activision boss Kotick made $15 million last year, reports gamesindustry.biz. You keep raising those prices, Bobby...

Six Days in Fallujah Publisher: "We're Surrounded"

August 6, 2009 -

"We're surrounded... We have been badly wounded..."

Those were among comments released by Six Days in Fallujah developer Atomic Games as it announced layoffs today. The company is apparently in financial distress due to the game industry downturn as well as its inability to secure a publishing deal for the controversial Iraq War game.

Gamasutra has more from Atomic's press release:

In the words of Marine officer Chesty Puller, 'We're surrounded. That simplifies the problem...

We wish to assure the dozens of Marine veterans who have collectively invested hundreds of hours in this project that, while we have been badly wounded, we will fight on. The stories of your brothers' courage and sacrifice in Fallujah must be shared with the world.

So far, it is unknown how many of Atomic's 75 staffers were let go.

5 comments

Video Game Slowdown Impacts Amazon's Bottom Line

July 30, 2009 -

The Wall Street Journal reports that mega-online retailer Amazon.com posted a 14% revenue increase for the financial quarter ending June 30th, but its profits fell 10% from $158 million to $142 million.

Amazon’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Szkutak commented on the drop laid much of the bad news on declining video game sales:

You're seeing an industry slowdown in videogames and consoles.

Despite singling out games, other factors impacted the profit fall such as “flat” media sales in North American (including books and music) and a $51 million legal settlement paid to Toys R Us.

Via: GamesIndustry.Biz

Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen...

10 comments

Conan Finds Humor in Game Biz Slump

July 22, 2009 -

Apparently taking note of recent reports that video game sales are in the midst of a four-month slide, Tonight Show host Conan O'Brien dropped this one on the audience recently:

Experts say the video game industry has been dramatically hurt by the economic downturn. Which explains the popularity of the new Nintendo game, ‘Wii Job Interview.’

Source: Political Irony

8 comments

Investment Blog Bashes Take-Two Boss Zelnick

July 21, 2009 -

Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick has absorbed something of a beatdown from investor-oriented website Market Rap.

In an article titled No Regrets, No Responsibility, Zelnick is taken to task for what Market Rap writer Perry Rod views as a string of leadership failures on his part. Most egregious among these would appear to be Zelnick's spurning EA's $25.74 per share acquisition bid in 2008. Take-Two stock (TTWO) currently trades at 8.58 and has dipped under 6 during the current recession. Rod writes:

If you’re keeping score, in a two year period, Mr Zelnick managed to, on three occasions, make vital statements that were within a matter of weeks proven to be either fabricated or just incredibly incompetent (or worse).  Mr. Zelnick managed to resist and reject a buyout offer that was triple the company’s current share price while claiming other interested parties who never emerged.  And Mr. Zelnick, meanwhile, tripled his management company’s compensation for these efforts...

These statements and others strongly suggest that investors should proceed with extreme caution with any investment that involves Strauss Zelnick.  His performance so far as an executive manager of a publicly traded company  is one of the worst I have ever seen in my professional investment experience.

The Market Rap piece is not the first time Zelnick has come in for harsh criticism from the investment crowd. Last October Mad Money host Jim Cramer added Zelnick to his Wall of Shame.

22 comments

Video Game Sales Drop Extends to Fourth Month

July 17, 2009 -

Video game revenues dropped more than expected in June, reports market research firm NPD.

According to Venture Beat, sales of game hardware and software dropped 31% over June, 2008. VB's Dean Takahashi writes:

In some ways, it isn’t a surprise. Last year, a lot of big titles came out in the first half of the year. This year, most big titles are coming out in the second half of the year... But it’s also clear the recession is taking a toll.

“This is one of the first months where I think the impact of the economy is clearly reflected in the sales numbers,” Frazier said. “This level of decline is certainly going to cause some pain and reflection in the industry.” ...

It’s time to wonder if gamers are migrating to free games on the web, Facebook, iPhone or other platforms. While console game sales have been falling, the number of online game players is up 22 percent this year, according to market researcher comScore.

15 comments

Midway HQ: Last One Out, Turn Out the Lights

July 17, 2009 -

Midway's fade into gaming oblivion continues with word that all 60 employees at the bankrupt firm's Chicago HQ will be let go in September.

The cuts include CEO Matt Booty and other execs, reports the Chicago Tribune.

That popping sound you hear is the deployment of golden parachutes for the top dogs.

6 comments

Mass. Effect: State Legislator Wants Tax Credits for Game Developers

July 7, 2009 -

A Massachusetts legislator hopes to extend the state's tax credit for movie production to video game developers.

To that end, Rep. John Binienda (D, left) has proposed H.2690. The measure will be debated tomorrow in the State House.

Of his bill, Binienda told NECN:

It's basically just tax credits to keep this industry here. It's to bring jobs here, keep jobs here, and stimulate economic development.

 

The idea here is that if you could make some tax credits and some tax breaks, that not only could you get your degree here, but you could work here to keep the best and the brightest minds here, in the [video game development] field.

Passage of Binienda's bill appears uncertain at this point given that some of his legislative colleagues have expressed concerns about giving up tax revenue in the current economic climate. A similar measure failed to pass in 2008.

4 comments

Massachusetts Guv Brags About Guitar Hero

June 25, 2009 -

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) did a little bragging on Guitar Hero at a town hall meeting  in Arlington on Monday night.

Patrick, who lobbied game publishers to relocate to Massachusetts during a West Coast junket in February, was enthusiastic about the state's economic prospects during his talk with citizens, according to Wicked Local Arlington:

This is not your father’s [Route] 128. You know that [video game] ‘Guitar Hero’? That was invented here. It was built here.

Route 128 is well-known as a technology corridor in Massachusetts. Guitar Hero creator Harmonix is based in Cambridge.

2 comments

Nice Work If You Can Get It: EA's Riccitiello, Moore Earn Big Bucks in Bad Year

May 29, 2009 -

Yes, Electronic Arts may have laid off 10% of its workforce and posted a billion dollar loss in recent months, but rank has its privileges, after all.

And ranking execs at EA are clearly among the privileged, based on a preliminary proxy statement filed by EA this week which lists compensation for its top officials. CEO John Riccitiello's fiscal 2009 package, which included salary, stock awards, option awards, benefits and a performance-based cash bonus, is valued at $6,365,823.

EA Sports President Peter Moore won't be brown bagging his lunch, either. EA lists Moore compensation package at $4,284,366. Here's the breakdown for Riccitiello (right) and Moore (left), EA's two most high-profile execs:

Here are Riccitiello's numbers:

  • Salary - $793,749  
  • Bonus -
  • Stock Awards - $1,055,461
  • Option Awards - $4,115,305
  • Non Equity Incentive Plan Compensation - $400,000 
  • All Other Compensation - $1,308
  • TOTAL - $6,365,823

And here are Moore's (cost of game launch tattoos not included):

  • Salary - $564,624 
  • Bonus -
  • Stock Awards - $1,443,741
  • Option Awards - $1,589,290
  • Non Equity Incentive Plan Compensation - $200,000
  • All Other Compensation - $486,711
  • TOTAL - $4,284,366

The Associated Press notes that Riccitiello's incentive bonus dropped from $625,000 in fiscal 2008 to the $400,000 figure listed above. In contrast to EA's filing, the AP estimates Riccitiello's total compensation at $11.1 million, using a $9.9 million valuation on stock options.

Not bad for a crappy year.           

UPDATE:  gamesindustry.biz reports that an unnamed EA spokesman has taken umbrage at the Associated Press claim that Riccitiello's options are worth $11.1 million:

Their calculation is inaccurate. It includes value of performance-based shares that will vest over several years - and only if high performance hurdles are met.

As reported, it appears as though those shares are compensation for this year, which they are not. Accurately, they are an opportunity to earn shares over the coming years if company objectives are met.

The spirit of those shares is to link executive compensation to the achievement of long term financial objectives. That programme, which is in place for all of EA's top executives, is designed to align interests of shareholders and management.

12 comments

Take-Two's Zelnick Passes on Newspaper Purchase

May 29, 2009 -

Take-Two Interactive Chairman Strauss Zelnick seems like a pretty smart guy, so we were surprised to learn that he was actually considering buying a newspaper. In the end, he wised up, however.

Reuters reports that Zelnick decided to pass on acquiring the Austin American-Statesman. The Texas paper had a daily circulation of 152,691 as of March.

Zelnick's private equity firm ZelnickMedia Corp. never made a formal bid and decided to pull out of negotiations as the sorry state of the newspaper business continued to worsen.

8 comments

Social Game Lets Mobile Phone Users Try Bernie Madoff-Style Scams

May 19, 2009 -

A social game for web-capable mobile phones parodies rogue financier Bernie Madoff's long-running Ponzi scheme, reports CNNmoney.

Made Off, available from publisher Cellufun, allows players to create virtual scams of their owns, promising other players investment returns of up to 20%. Player need to continually attract new "investors" in order to pay back the older ones, lest their Ponzi scheme collapse. No real money is involved. Instead, players trade "cellupoints."

Cellufun CEO Neil Edwards, who says his game pokes fun at the jailed Madoff, not his victims, told CNN/money that Made Off has an educational component:

When your fund goes broke, you go, 'Holy crap, I didn't invite enough people... There is a lot of misconception and confusion on what happened. People don't really understand a Ponzi scheme."

A blurb on the game's website describes the action:

Play as a slimy Fund Manager, a savvy Investor, or both. The game will end without warning when the Feds finally crack down on the Cellufun community, and people managing Funds will get to keep all the Cellupoints invested in them. Investors will keep all the Cellupoints they've acquired through interest payments as well. And we'll give trophies to those who have "made off" with the most profits...

4 comments

Are Video Game Sales An Economic Indicator?

May 16, 2009 -

Douglas McIntyre of 24/7 Wall Street writes that video games are an excellent economic indicator. And - given their lousy recent sales numbers - the indications aren't good:

 Video games... [are] inexpensive enough so that they should be a reasonable proxy for consumer discretionary spending.

The signals from the video game industry in April were troubling. Sales of games dropped 23% and game console sales were down over 40%...

The slide in console sales is so extreme that it is a clear sign that sales of consumer electronics are in a flat spin. When people cannot spend $300 on a console or $50 on a game which can be used for hours and played over and over again, the money for discretionary spending has dried up.

TIME thought enough of McIntyre's analysis to repost on their site.

On the other hand, analyst Doug Creutz of Cowen and Company pointed out this week in an investors' note that year-over-year April sales comparisons were negatively impacted by the April, 2008 release of two blockbusters, Grand Theft Auto IV and Mario Kart Wii. That was a tough act for April, 2009 to follow. Creutz also notes that most U.S. game publishers did well in April:

Three of the four major U.S. third party publishers saw significant sales increases in April. [Activision] saw a total game sales (incl. PC) increase of roughly +21%... Electronic Arts... saw total game sales increase +26%... THQ's... total sales increased +23%...

28 comments

Ian Bogost Critiques Bailout Bonanza for the iPhone

April 22, 2009 -

Over at Water Cooler Games, Georgia Tech prof and noted game designer Ian Bogost offers some thoughts on Bailout Bonanza, an iPhone game released in late March.

Bailout Bonanza is essentially a clone of the classic Activision game Kaboom! -- the player moves or tilts the iPhone to maneuver a bucket at the bottom of the screen, which catches money bags dropped by a Wall Street banker out of a neoclassical financial building...

 

The problem is, this game doesn't really satirize or comment upon the bailout. If anything, the Kaboom! gameplay feels backwards... The game also points to the issue of timeliness in editorial games. Creating an iPhone game like this one is relatively easy, but it still takes more time than making the equivalent Flash game... the bailout of the financial sector is, in a way, old news.

Bogost notes that Bailout Bonanza is just one of several bailout-themed games available on the AppStore.

1 comment

Union Lampoons American Airlines Execs with Online Ad Game

April 2, 2009 -

Outraged by what it views as uncalled-for bonuses paid to American Airlines executives, the Transport Workers Union has turned to an online game to gets its message across.

NBCDFW.com reports that American Exec Check targets American Airline CEO Gerard Arpey. Southwest boss Gary Kelly is also featured in the game, but his much smaller compensation package is presented by way of contrast to Arpey's.

From the NBCDFW report:

TWU is taking out ads on news Web sites that feature an interactive game in which players match four U.S. corporate executives with their pay packages. Arpey has the richest deal, mostly due to stock-based compensation...

"I'm not comparing American Airlines to AIG," said James C. Little, international president of the TWU. "Nobody could stop the AIG bonuses, but we have an opportunity for American Airlines management to say, 'Is this the right time to take bonuses?"'

American Airlines stock now trades at $3, down from a 2007 high of $40. The company lost more than $2B last year.

5 comments

Nintendo's Reggie: Obama Too Busy To Worry About Video Games

April 1, 2009 -

Issues such as the recession, healthcare and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are likely to keep President Barack Obama's attention away from video games, said Reggie Fils-Aime (left).

The Nintendo of America chief also believes that the video game industry is in a better position politically than it has been in the past.

Fils-Aime made his comments during a wide-ranging interview with GameDaily:

We have the first sitting president with a multiple gaming household, between the Wii and the DS. I believe that our president has more pressing issues to deal with, from the economy to the military conflicts.

 

Certainly, as an industry, we've met with representatives of Congress and other parts of our government. What they see is an industry that is mainstream, is creating jobs and is creating vibrant forms of entertainment. Those are all positive things for this country. So we are in a more favorable legislative environment compared to five or six years ago.

13 comments

Company's Bankrupt, But Midway Execs Get Greedy (Updated, Now with Less Greed)

March 31, 2009 -

Bailed-out insurer A.I.G. isn't the only in-the-toilet company doling out questionable bonuses to the very execs who ran it into the ground.

For example, there's Midway.

Ben Fritz, who pens Variety's The Cut Scene blog, reports that the financially-troubled game publisher tried to persuade the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to permit it to:

  • pay "incentive" bonuses for an event which already happened (the sale of Wheelman to Ubisoft)
  • pay $1.3M in bonuses for either selling the Mortal Kombat franchise or developing a plan to reorganize the company
  • pay $2M in bonuses for closing the Mortal Kombat deal or getting the reorganization plan approved by the Court

However, the government's Bankruptcy Trustee objected, noting that:

  • it's hard to pay an incentive for something that happened in the past. The Trustee called this "disingenuous"
  • what else do Midway execs have to do except either sell MK or reorganize the company? That's kind of their job at this point
  • the size of the proposed bonuses are "outrageous," in the words of the trustee:

The Debtors seek authority to pay bonuses to a selected group of officers and managers which are four hundred percent greater than bonuses paid to the same group in 2008 when the Debtors were not before the Bankruptcy Court.

 

Given the current state of the general economy, coupled with historical data related to incentive bonuses paid by these Debtors, the Motion constitutes an outrageous request and is not justified by the facts and circumstances of the case.

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of the Trustee's objection here.

UPDATE: The Cut Scene has posted an update indicating that Midway has yielded to the Trustee's objections. Its new bonus plan:

  • eliminates the Wheelman bonus
  • the Mortal Kombat bonus now only applies if Midway sells all of its assets
  • A bonus still kicks in a reorg plan is approved by the Court
19 comments

Online Game: Bailout Bonus Beatdown

March 24, 2009 -

Sure, those AIG bonuses were maddening, but punching out execs isn't the solution that most rational people have in mind.

Still, Kewlbox has posted Bailout Bonus Beatdown, an online game in which players have 15 seconds to throw punches (read: click their mouse) at a greedy yet defenseless exec from the "P.I.G. Insurance Company."

GP: We'd like to think that the state of games as political commentary has advanced beyond the tired whack-a-mole, punchout and first-person shooter genres. But, apparently not...

6 comments

Online Game Challenges Players to Balance Philadelphia's Budget

March 24, 2009 -

Like chief executives in other big cities, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has been forced to make some tough financial choices of late.

Perhaps His Honor should spend some time playing Philadelphia Budget Challenge, a new online game offered by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia.

Alan Tu of Philly's public radio station WHYY has a review of the game:

This budget game asks 15 questions, giving you a choice to raise taxes or cut services in each case. My secret for solving the city’s budget crisis over the lunch hour is as follows.

The first thing to do is raise everybody’s taxes. That makes the game more fun. Who wants to be the mayor remembered for closing libraries?... The rest was a breeze. I ordered a 10 percent across-the-board cut to to all departments that were considered “administrative,” sold off 400 city cars, and then refinanced a loan the city has for paying into the pension fund...

It’s kind of fun, because it’s feels a little like playing Sim City. No big budgets to read. Never have to hear the citizens complain (although in the game they move away), and if you don’t like the results, you can play it over... the game is simplistic, but it is a wonderful way to generate debate in your office...

11 comments

Hated AIG Kicks It in Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 2009

March 23, 2009 -

If you haven't yet gotten your fill of AIG news, Stephen Totilo of MTV Multiplayer reports that the controversial, troubled insurance company shows up unexpectedly in Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 2009.

Stephen was checking out the Wii version and reports that AIG's now-infamous logo appears on the jerseys of Manchester United:

For those who recognize AIG as one of the most hated three-letter combinations in America these days, be warned about Konami’s new Wii soccer game “Pro Evolution Soccer 2009.”

The game’s opening cinematic has a bunch of guys wearing the company’s logo...

I discovered through “PES 2009″ that Manchester United... is sponsored by AIG. (Or, to be precise, used to be sponsored, as reports, like this one from Forbes, indicate that the U.S. government has nixed any renewal of this Manchester United AIG deal.)

After reading Stephen's piece I tossed my copy into the PS3, and found AIG there, as well.

21 comments

AIG Exec UFO Catcher - Coin-Op Solution to a Wall Street Scandal

March 18, 2009 -

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) may have suggested that executives of public money sink AIG commit ritual suicide, but animation artist Joaqin Baldwin's approach to the new icon of corporate greed is far more diabolical. More fun, too.

AIG Exec UFO Catcher is Baldwin's AIG-themed take on those coin-op claw machines that one finds in arcades and the lobbies of greasy spoon diners. You know, maneuver the claw to grab a small stuffed animal.

In Baldwin's vision, however, players use the claw to collect AIG execs who are partying on the taxpayers' dime. Trillions of dimes, actually...

Entertainingly, things just don't work out so well with the claw feature.

Although the game is a bit NSFW, AIG hate is so rampant at the moment that even the most prudish of bosses will probably look the other way. After all, the boss is a taxpayer, too.

Via: GameCulture

3 comments

Layoff: The Game

March 17, 2009 -

If you've been laid off, you'll have plenty of time on your hands to play the Layoff game - at least until your PC is repo'd.

The new, Bejeweled-like offering from tiltfactor satirizes the plight of worker bees who are paying the price for the incompetent Wall Street types behind the economic meltdown.

A company press release describes the game, which was developed by Prof. Mary Flanagan, Dartmouth’s Digital Humanities Chair in partnership with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Game Design and Development program:

Players play from the side of management needing to cut jobs, and match types of workers in groups in order to lay the workers off and increase workforce efficiency... Players eliminating many workers in a row find financiers and bankers taking the place of working class jobs. The financiers in this game cannot face layoffs.

Prof. Flanagan comments on Layoff:

The game has an unsettling feeling. It is cute and fun to play, but when you realize how frightening the situation is, the game in fact functions as a very dark portent.

Via: Kotaku

2 comments

Crashteroids Game Caps Off Horrible Week for MSNBC's Jim Cramer

March 14, 2009 -

It has been a rough week for frenetic financial guru Jim Cramer, host of MSNBC's Mad Money program.

Having been pilloried on several recent episodes of The Daily Show, Cramer opted to appear as a guest, apparently in an attempt to explain himself to host Jon Stewart. Bad idea: Cramer's Daily Show appearance was a disaster.

Financial site The Big Money lampoons Cramer's media woes with Crashteroids, a fun little Asteroids knock-off:

Avenge Cramer’s disgrace at the hands of Jon Stewart by blasting his smug grin into space dust. Defeat Business Insider’s Henry Blodget, a man who once called Cramer “a chair-throwing, self-aggrandizing clown.”

 

Protect Cramer from Fox Business, a network that sneered, “[T]he last thing you need is Jim Cramer.” Shred Barron’s magazine, a publication that has tried to prove Cramer gives crappy investment advice. And, of course, keep the grizzly hordes of bear-market economists at bay.

Via: The Business Insider

12 comments

Stimulus Money Convinces New York to Nix Digital Download Tax

March 11, 2009 -

Gamers who live in the state of New York are already experiencing a benefit from President Obama's recently-passed stimulus package.

CNN reports that New York has scrapped a plan to tax digital downloads such as iTunes music and video game DLC.

Instead, Gov. David Paterson and New York legislators will utilize $1.3 billion in stimulus money to help balance the state budget.

15 comments

 
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MaskedPixelanteDude was at the center of a pretty serious plagiarism scandal back in 2011, and it was widely known he ripped off other musical pieces well before that.12/27/2014 - 9:33am
Kajex@Masked Right, because his work actually composing music for several Metroid games necessitated plagiarism.12/27/2014 - 9:04am
MaskedPixelanteI can't believe Kenji Yamamoto got another job. Then again, his job on Smash was "musical arrangment", so copying other people's work is right up his alley.12/26/2014 - 9:31pm
Matthew Wilsonthe company that hosts it is a cyber security firm, and from what I understand it is the data they they see just shown publicly.12/26/2014 - 8:22pm
Wonderkarpa question about that website, Matthew...how does it know its a cyberattack or not12/26/2014 - 8:06pm
Matthew Wilsonfor those intreasted in seeing cyber attacks in real time check out this site. http://map.ipviking.com/12/26/2014 - 7:51pm
PHX Corp@MP you can add me on XBL and Nintendo Network if you want, I go under TrustyGem(Same gamertag as on Steam)12/26/2014 - 2:01pm
CMinerI blame North Korea.12/25/2014 - 11:49pm
MechaTama31For the last few weeks, the GP site fails to load about 2/3 of the times I try.12/25/2014 - 11:13pm
MaskedPixelanteOK, is GP having trouble loading for anyone but me?12/25/2014 - 9:21pm
Matthew Wilsonits a bunch of script kiddies. ddosing is one of the easiest thing to do,and most companies can not stop it sadly.12/25/2014 - 5:05pm
MaskedPixelanteI like Nintendo as much as the next person, they're pretty much the only company putting out the games I want to play, but that was pretty embarassing to have NNID go down due to overuse.12/25/2014 - 4:35pm
MaskedPixelanteSee? It's NOT a repeat of last year's fiasco.12/25/2014 - 4:22pm
 

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